Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library services and COVID-19: Home

Key information

We are pleased to welcome University of Southampton staff and students to our libraries for studying and browsing. Study spaces and browsing slots must be prebooked and we have measures in place to keep you safe. 

Page last checked or updated: 05/03/21: From Monday 8th March, WSA Library will be open for study space and Browse & Borrow 11:00-15:00 Monday-Friday.

Health Services Library closed because of flooding

Update on Health Services Library (HSL)

The Library has been closed from Friday 22nd January because of flooding caused by a burst heating pipe. The carpet will need to be replaced before the Library can reopen.

Please see our Health Services Library page for updates and information on accessing books.


The message "A face covering must be worn inside all University buildings at all times"Lockdown opening hours from Wednesday 6th January 2021:

  • Hartley Library: Monday - Friday 08:00-18:00; Saturday - Sunday 09:00-17:00
  • Health Services Library: Monday - Friday 08:00-18:00; closed weekends (temporarily closed because of flooding)
  • Winchester School of Art Library from 8th March: Monday - Friday 11:00-15:00; closed weekends
  • National Oceanographic Library: closed
  • Avenue Library & Learning Commons: closed

Using the Libraries

Studying in the Libraries:  Prebook a study space. Study spaces are two metres apart and cleaning materials will be provided. Prebooking ensures fair use and guarantees you a seat while we have reduced study space capacity with COVID-19 safety measures in place. Please note that face coverings must be worn at all times in the libraries. The computer workstation rooms within the libraries remain closed, but some bookable PCs will be available. For all of our libraries, if you are nearing the end of your booked time slot you can stay for longer if there are available spaces. Please make an additional booking so that we can monitor capacity.  

Hartley Library: you can book a three hour study spot per person per day on Level 5 or a two hour slot per person per day for the Assistive Technology Suite and Level 4. All other areas of Hartley Library are bookable for one hour per person per day

Health Services Library: you can book multiple one hour slots per day.

Winchester School of Art Library: open for Click & Collect only from Wednesday 6th January to Friday 5th March. From Monday 8th March, open for study space and Browse & Borrow 11:00-15:00 Monday-Friday.

Study space across campus: find out the main areas available for independent study, including opening times, availability of PCs and if you need to book.

Browse & Borrow: Prebook a timeslot to select books from the shelves at Hartley or the Health Services Library, then use the self-issue machine.

Postal loans: You can request books to be sent to you via our postal loans service.

Click & Collect: You can continue to use our Click & Collect service using the Place Hold option in our catalogue, WebCat, to reserve books from any of our libraries. When you have received the notification email, you can collect your books within 7 days any time the libraries are open, using the self issue machines to add the books to your library account. You can choose to collect your books from Hartley, the Health Service Library,  or Winchester School of Art Library. You can still borrow books and DVDs from the Library & Learning Commons, but you will need to collect them from one of our other libraries. Please note that collection is not available from the National Oceanographic Library as of January 2021. 

Book returns: You can return books to the Hartley book returns letterbox and returns boxes inside Hartley, the red box outside the Health Services Library and (during Click & Collect opening hours) the trolley inside the Winchester School of Art Library entrance. Books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being removed from your account so please do not worry if the book still shows on your Library record for that time. We do not charge fines, and you will be able to take out more books. If you are in the UK you can use our free tracked postal returns service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hartley Library, and the Health Services Library are open to current University staff and students, and NHS Trust staff. All study space and browsing for books must be prebooked and the confirmation email shown on arrival.

Study space and Browse & Borrow can be booked at https://library.soton.ac.uk/bookings

Please note that from 5th November 2020 face coverings must be worn at all times in the libraries.

Study spaces are available at Hartley and the Health Services Library: at Hartley Library you can book a three hour study spot per person per day on Level 5 or a two hour slot per person per day for the Assistive Technology Suite and Level 4. All other areas of Hartley Library are bookable for one hour per person per day. You can book multiple one hour slots per day at Health Services Library. Prebooking ensures fair use and guarantees you a seat while we have reduced study space capacity with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

If you are nearing the end of your booked time slot you can stay for longer if there are available spaces. Please make an additional booking so that we can monitor capacity.

Visitors to the Archives will be asked to show the email confirmation of their booking at the Library entrance.

The National Oceanographic Library is currently closed and from January 5th 2021 you can pick up Click & Collect books from Hartley Library.

Winchester School of Art Library will close from Wednesday 6th January 2021.

Please contact libenqs@soton.ac.uk with any questions.

The Avenue Library & Learning Commons will remain closed. This decision was guided by the need to make additional short-term space available for teaching and learning, and difficulties ensuring the Library & Learning Commons would be COVID-secure for staff and students. Please use the Place Hold option in WebCat to request items for collection at Hartley.

Social distancing measures mean that our libraries have reduced capacity and we regret that we are unable to offer access to the libraries for members of the public, including sixth form students, external borrowers and SCONUL Access users. We will update this page when visitor access resumes.

Please contact libenqs@soton.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Social distancing measures mean that our libraries have reduced capacity and we regret that we are unable to offer access to the libraries for alumni, members of the public (including sixth form students), external borrowers and SCONUL Access users. We will update this page when visitor access resumes.

You are welcome to bring hot and cold covered drinks to your prebooked study space. You may also eat cold food at your prebooked study space in Hartley and the Health Services Library.

The water bottle fillers on each level at Hartley Library are in use.

The Hartley Library microwaves are not available.

During lockdown in 2021 the Library Cafe will open for takeaway service 08:00-16:00 Monday-Friday.

Click & Collect: collecting books without a booked timeslot

You can request books available in the libraries using the Place Hold option in WebCat: login to WebCat, and search for the book you need. If there is a list of results, select the record for the appropriate book and click Place Hold (on the left of the screen). Books from the Avenue Library & Learning Commons and National Oceanographic Library can be collected from Hartley.

We will let you know by email when your book(s) are ready and you can collect them when the library is open. You must receive the confirmation email before you come to collect your books. Books must be collected within 7 days of the confirmation email being received. Please bring your University ID card to issue the books on the self-issue machines and remember that face coverings must be worn.

You will not have access to study space in the libraries, or to browse for books when using Click & Collect.

Browse & Borrow

Prebook a timeslot at Hartley or the Health Services Library to select books from the shelves, then use the self-issue machine to add them to your library account.

You will not have access to study space if you have a Browse & Borrow timeslot.

Postal loans

You can also request books to be sent to you via our postal loans service.

Requesting books

Please use the Place Hold option in WebCat to request books that are currently on loan to other users.

Requesting s digitised chapter or book extract

You can request a digitised chapter for your personal use using our document supply service.

Use our interlibrary loan service to request books, journal articles or other material that we do not have in our collections. Please email libenqs@soton.ac.uk to make book purchase suggestions.

Find out more about borrowing books on our Loans & Borrowing guide.

You can return books to the Hartley book returns letterbox and returns boxes inside Hartley, the red box outside the Health Services Library and (during Click & Collect opening hours) the trolley inside the Winchester School of Art Library entrance.

If you are in the UK you can use our free postal returns service.

Books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being removed from your account so please do not worry if the book still shows on your Library record for that time. We do not charge fines, and you will be able to take out more books.

We have a list of the main independent study spaces across campus, including opening times, availability of PCs and if the spaces need to be booked in advance.

The library group study rooms are not currently available because ventilation issues mean they cannot be made COVID-secure.

Your Subject Guide lists key resources, including databases to search for journal articles and WebCat, our library catalogue.

Our PressReader subscription gives you access to over 7,000 newspapers and magazines from the UK and around the world.

See our Using your online Library webpages.

The university uses the Eduroam wifi.

The computer workstation rooms in Hartley are not currently available.

Prebooked PCs are available at each library site using our booking form and many of the study spaces in the libraries have power sockets for you to charge laptops.

We aim to operate a laptop loan service later in the academic year.

Printers (also known as Multi-Functional Devices, MFDs as they also scan and photocopy) are available in the Hartley Library and Health Services Library.

MFDs in the libraries are only available for staff and students who are in the library for a prebooked study space or Browse & Borrow timeslot.

For more information on printing, including adding money to your account and the location of other MFDs on Highfield campus, please see the iSolutions printing for students page.

IT help is available from the iSolutions Serviceline team

Enabling Services provide support for students with disabilities, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties.

The Assistive Technology (AT) Suite is the main area for assistive technology facilities within the University. It is located at Highfield Campus in Hartley Library (Level 2, Room 2047) and is available during normal library opening hours. Students who would like to access the AT Suite will need to make a booking in advance.

The Hartley Library lift is not currently available to students but we have bookable study spaces on the entrance level (level 2) for students who find using the stairs difficult. Please contact libenqs@soton.ac.uk if you have any questions on accessing the library or library resources.

You will find support and advice on our Academic Skills pages covering useful study skills such as: critical thinking, academic integrity (referencing and avoiding plagiarism), information management, presentation skills, exam technique and research skills.

Appointments for writing support and general academic skills support.

The Avenue Library & Learning Commons will remain closed. This decision was guided by the need to make additional short-term space available for teaching and learning, and difficulties ensuring the Library & Learning Commons would be COVID-secure for staff and students. Academics, researchers and students will be able to access library resources via our digital library, including ebooks, journal articles, films and TV clips, current and historical newspapers and digitised items on reading lists. From the start of term, print Course Collection material held at Avenue will be available on a one week loan period from the Click & Collect service, with collection at Hartley.

You can request books via Click & Collect using the Place Hold option in WebCat: login to WebCat, and search for the book you need. If there is a list of results, select the record for the appropriate book and click Place Hold (on the left of the screen).

You will not have access to study space in the libraries, or to browse for books when using Click & Collect.

Please contact us at libenqs@soton.ac.uk if you have any questions.

The Archives and Rare Books Searchroom are closed to researchers from Wednesday 6th January 2021.

Please contact archives@soton.ac.uk with any questions.